Need, prayer and thanksgiving belong together
Do you pray in the way that the Bible says you should pray? Need, prayer and thanksgiving belong together. Millions of prayers are prayed on earth each day, but most of them are only words that are quickly said without much thinking.
The Pharisees prayed many long prayers so people could see they were praying. It wasn’t that they felt that they seriously needed something from God that drove them to pray. Actually, God is saying to them: Come again when you want something specific, when there is a need in your hearts that drives you to pray, to seek, and to knock. (Matthew 7:7.) That is the kind of prayer that the widow prayed who was in a big need to get justice against her enemy. (Luke 18:1-8.) Her prayer was a prayer of faith; she did not give up before she had received her rights.
Today our enemy is the devil. In this connection Jesus says, “Won't God give his chosen people justice when they cry out to him for help day and night? I can guarantee that he will give them justice quickly. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:7-8 (GW). When I really believe that I will overcome sin in my life, I will never give in to the devil, not even once. He must and shall be overcome, and for this I must get help—much help.
In one Bible translation the Holy Spirit is called “Helper”, and only those who really need help are helped. But there is little of this faith on earth that we can overcome sin.
God hears a cry of need from the heart
“And my God will give you all you have need of from the wealth of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (BBE). The riches in Christ are very great; but we can only receive these riches if we have a need in our hearts. He does not hear our prayers just because we say the right words in a loud voice, but He hears the cry of need from our heart, as was the case with Hannah, whom we read about in 1 Samuel 1:13.
Many prayers are about help in times of sickness and other human needs, but there are only a few people that have a need for a deeper salvation, only a few have a hunger and thirst after righteousness, only a few have a need for getting more of Christ's nature in them.
Pray with thanksgiving
Very few people here on earth pray like Paul and Epaphras prayed. They battled in their prayers with the goal that everyone might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 1:9,28,29; Colossians 4:4-12.)
Jesus wants us to always give thanks for every prayer that is answered, because if we pray and really believe that God answers us, then we will also thank and praise Him.
Only one of the ten lepers returned and gave thanks to God. (Luke 17:16.) How thankful we are, will show in our prayers. In most cases, this thankfulness is not very deep. But the apostles gave praise to the Lord with joy and thanksgiving when they could see the life and nature of Jesus in people who were becoming strong in all the will of God and in all the fruits of the Spirit.
In the Lord's Prayer we read among other things, “May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Every day these words are prayed quickly without much thinking by thousands of people; but only a few really believe and understand that God's will should and can be done in one's personal, daily life as it is done in heaven. Therefore only a few can thank God for the fact that it is so in their own lives.
It was Paul's desire that his ministry might lead to thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 9:11-12.) Paul wanted all empty talk to be replaced by thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4.) And in Philippians 4:6 (NCV) he says, “But pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks …”
Prayer with thanksgiving is a prayer of faith
We have to become strong in the faith, “and be filled with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:7 (GNT). “Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving…” Colossians 4:2 (CEB). We can pray ourselves into darkness and hopelessness if we don’t, in full faith, praise and thank God from our hearts. The saints in the old covenant won the victory over their enemies because they firmly believed God, even when it looked impossible.
When Jonah was in deepest darkness, in the fish's belly, we read, “But I will sing praises to you; I will offer you a sacrifice and do what I have promised. Salvation comes from the Lord! Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah up on the beach, and it did.” Jonah 2:9-10 (GNT).
“Let the giving of thanks be your sacrifice to God, and give the Almighty all that you promised. Call to me when trouble comes; I will save you, and you will praise me.” Psalm 50:14-15 (GNT).